Joint Base Andrews, Maryland
October 23, 2021
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Your Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros,
Madame Acting Chief of Protocol, Asel Roberts,
Most Reverend Metropolitans of the Holy Eparchial Synod,
Beloved Children in the Lord,
With a heart filled with gratitude and great enthusiasm, we speak words of blessing and benediction for all of you, and for the great American Nation. It has been twelve years since we last visited the Holy Archdiocese of America, her devout clergy and the many friends in government that have become close to us during our Thirty-Year Patriarchal tenure.
We begin again, as we did in 1997, and we come with the same message we imparted on that day, October Nineteenth:
“We come to you in love, beholding you as the newly planted branch of the ancient vine of Christ’s first called disciple Saint Andrew. You, our most beloved daughters and sons, have transplanted the faith of the Apostles upon this blessed continent. America recognizes your deep commitment to living that faith fully, for she has enshrined in her Constitution the fundamental principles upon which the lasting qualities of the Church are founded.”
Those words are as true today, as they were nearly a quarter century ago. Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the True Vine, reached out through the First-Called Branch and Disciple, the Holy Apostle Andrew, to establish upon the cusp of Europe and Asia, the God-ordained City of Constantinople. Despite the vicissitudes of history, the See of Andrew has endured, to provide for the Universal Church a “canon of faith and an image of meekness,” as we sing of the Holy Wonderworker Nicholas of Myra in Lycia.
Thus, our time with you over these coming days is a God-given opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bonds between us. We give thanks for our spiritual son, His Eminence Elpidophoros, who has restored stability to this Archdiocese and energized this precious Eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne, even in the time of the pandemic.
Yesterday, we celebrated in the Queen of Cities the Thirtieth Anniversary of our election to the See of the First-Called Apostle Andrew. Not many days hence, here in America, we will observe the Cities the Thirtieth Anniversary of our Enthronement upon the upon the Cathedra of Saints Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom.
Our heart is filled with deep and abiding thanksgiving to the Lord of All, that He has granted us these three decades to serve in the Patriarchal ministry of reconciliation and restoration.
We also express our thank to the Acting Chief of Protocol of the United States, Asel Roberts, and through her the Honorable President of the United States, for the warm and encouraging welcome. We feel blessed indeed to be back in the United States once again.
We look forward in the coming days, to sharing with you and celebrating with you, as we receive the great grace to serve all of you, by the infinite mercy and ineffable compassion of our Holy God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Who is glorified unto the ages of ages. Amen!